New Temple Library To Get Huge Green Roof

Low-interest financing from the Commonwealth will give the new Temple University library one of the coolest roof decks in the city.

The green roof atop Temple's new library will combine functionality with beauty. Rendering | Snøhetta

The green roof atop Temple’s new library will combine functionality with beauty. Rendering | Snøhetta

Thanks to a low-interest loan from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the new Temple University Library will have an eco-friendly place for browsers through its one floor of open book stacks to relax and read.

The university announced yesterday (May 3) that it has received $6.7 million in financing from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) that will allow it to install a green roof, permeable paving, rainwater harvesting cisterns and stormwater piping on top of the library. This infrastructure will keep water from flowing into North Philadelphia’s already overburdened sewer system when rain or storms pass through the area.

The green roof design includes a rooftop terrace next to the book stacks on the library’s top floor. Next to the terrace, a roof garden will slope upward like a hillside to meet the actual roof; both the garden and the roof will be covered with a dozen different low-level plantings of grasses and perennial plants in a color scheme of blue, green, purple and white. In addition to capturing storm water for slow release into the soil, the roof will also act as a thermal barrier to regulate building temperature.

“The sustainability features of our new library are based on Temple’s approach to design bold, innovative projects while also thoughtfully engineering them to lower energy requirements and stormwater runoff,” Temple President Neil D. Theobald said in a news release. “We appreciate the state’s investment in this transformative project, which will serve our environment as well as it serves our students, faculty and staff.”

The PENNVEST loan will save Temple $4 million thanks to its low 1 percent interest rate and shorter 20-year term.

As it has done with most of its recently completed buildings, Temple intends to seek LEED certification for the library from the U.S. Green Building Council. Three buildings on campus, including the Tyler School of Architecture, home to Temple’s first roof garden, were certified LEED Silver; the university plans to seek LEED Gold certification for the library, which would place it in the company of Temple’s Science Education and Research Center, which opened in the fall of 2014.

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